By Tasha Florentz-Clift
Both the Anaheim Ducks and the Vancouver Canucks have had their ups and downs this season. Even though the Ducks did not win against the Blackhawks on Friday afternoon, you got a glimpse of the Ducks we know and love. They did not play a full 60 mins that day, but with a possibility of gaining some ground against a rival Pacific division team they turned on the jets early and kept the Canucks at bay. Two seasons ago John Gibson posted his first NHL victory(against the Canucks on April 8th, 2014) and was the youngest goalie in NHL history to have a shutout in his first game. Tonight would be no different, Gibby would get another shut out versus the Canucks stopping all 25 shots he faced. The Anaheim Ducks are now only 2 points behind the Canucks and 4 points behind the third place Coyotes.
Anaheim talked about wanting a repeat of the fast start they had against the Chicago Blackhawks. And the third line delivered less than 2 minutes into the game. Ducks defenseman, Kevin Bieksa started off the play coming up the right wing boards and fired a rocket of a shot at Canucks’ goalie Ryan Miller. Anaheim kept possession of the puck after the rebound and Carl Hagelin had a shot on net that was blocked. Andrew Cogliano went behind the net, gathered up the puck, and saucered a pass over Canucks defensemen Alexander Edler‘s stick to a waiting Shawn Horcoff who scored his 4th goal of the season. The Ducks never took their foot off the gas for the rest of the period. The Ducks would have 3 power play opportunities and the third time was the charm. Rickard Rakell would score his 6th goal of the year with 2 seconds remaining in the period. Yannick Weber would take a roughing call against Ryan Kesler with less than 2 minutes left in the period. On the power play, Corey Perry passes the puck to Sami Vatanen who is alone in the slot. Sami gets the pass and threads the needle to Ducks captain, Ryan Getzlaf. Ryan Miller aggressively comes out of the crease to play the puck, the puck hits Getzlaf in the skate and was not able to get a clean shot off. Ryan Miller then falls down, and chaos ensues. Rakell finds the puck and shovels it into the back of the net. The Ducks would go into the intermission up 2-0.
The Ducks had a great second period. They kept the Canucks to only 8 shots on net while they themselves had 9. The defense was outstanding. The Canucks came out on fire, but the Ducks defense did a great job keeping the shots to the perimeter and keeping the crease clear for Gibby. Gibson only had a couple decent scoring chances to thwart, which he did so easily. He was not really tested this period. Anaheim did look a little tense to start, but as the period wore on they got more comfortable and started getting more offensive chances. There were no penalties called this period for either team and the score would remain the same 2-0 in favor of the Ducks.
The Ducks really needed another goal to give themselves a little breathing room. Ryan Kesler’s passing this evening was superb. Kesler found a wide open Nick Ritchie who passed the puck to a streaking Jakob Silfverberg who scored his 2nd goal of the season. The Silfver Bullet ripped his patented high glove shot so fast, Miller barely reacts to his perfect shot. And not only do the Ducks take a commanding 3-0 lead, Anaheim rookie forward, Nick Ritchie gets his first NHL point with the primary assist! Congratulations Nick! Seven minutes later Corey Perry would block a pass from the Canucks Hamhuis causing a turnover. Scorey Perry then took the rolling puck and drills it over Miller’s blocker side scoring his 8th goal of the season. That would end Canucks goalie Ryan Miller’s night. Jacob Markstrom would come in relief for the Canucks.
Fun Fact: Both Canucks’ Goalie, Jacob Markstrom and the Ducks own Jakob Silfverberg were born a few months apart in Gävle, Sweden in 1990 and were teammates on Brynas in the Swedish Hockey League
Vancouver would press the Ducks the rest of the period and John Gibson would be tested when Duck’s Chris Stewart would take a double minor for high sticking on the Canucks, Matt Bartkowski. Anaheim would show how the league’s number one penalty killing unit gets it done by killing of the penalty with ease. Canucks got 4 shots on goal that power play, but Gibson stopped them all.
This was Anaheim’s most complete game all season. They played a full 60 minutes, defense completely shut down the Canucks offensive weapons, and 3 of the 4 lines would contribute offensively!
Key Moment of the Game
Jakob Silfverberg scored in the beginning of the third to give the Ducks a 3-0 lead. This was a key goal because it put the game out of reach for Vancouver at this point. The Ducks remember what happened in their last game and getting a three goal lead was key. The goal was important as well for Silfverberg as he has struggled to score this season. Hopefully this goal is a glimpse of things to come.
Key Stat of the Game
The Ducks were 61.7% efficient in the face-off circle as they won 37 of 60 face-offs. This was a large reason for the Ducks success last season and if they can continue this then more wins will come.
Players of the Game
Ryan Kesler- He played his most dominant game of the season tonight. He had a 65% faceoff wins tonight going 15/23. Against Henrik Sedin he went 5 of 6 for 83%. His passing was phenomenal and his hit on Jared McCann was bone crushing. He was named first start of the game. Also during the second period intermission, Kesler’s son Ryker participated in the mini mite shootout! He scored a nice little deke, imitated his dads one knee celly, then took a tumble Cam Fowler style!
Kevin Bieksa – Has had a couple of rough games as of late. Tonight he redeems himself with a solid effort. Rickard Rakell’s power play goal is a direct result of Bieksa’s ability to wreak havoc and battle in the crease. He was a +3 tonight, had 1 shot on goal, 2 hits and 3 blocked shots.
Shawn Horcoff- Not only did he get the scoring started by scoring his 4th goal of the season, he also won 80%(12/15) of his faceoffs tonight. Horcoff was 100% in defensive zone faceoffs which helped out Gibson tremendously. His line with Carl Hagelin and Andrew Cogliano only allowed the Sedin line a total of 3 SOG the entire game(all by Daniel Sedin)!
The Ducks improved to 2-0-1 in their last three home games with a 4-0 victory over the Vancouver Canucks at Honda Center. Anaheim recorded its second shutout of the season and first at Honda Center since a 4-0 win on Jan. 14, 2015 vs. Toronto. The Ducks are 8-4-3 in their last 15 games overall (19 of a possible 30 points, .633 points percentage) and have earned standings points in nine of their last 10 home games (6-1-3, 15 pts).
With his ninth assist of 2015-16, Sami Vatanen finished the month of November ranked fourth among NHL defensemen in scoring (4-9=13), tied for fourth in goals and tied for fifth in assists.
Adding his team-leading 15th assist of the season tonight, Ryan Getzlaf now leads the NHL in assists and is tied for fourth in scoring (1-14=15) since returning from a four-game absence due to an appendectomy on Nov. 6. Getzlaf has nine assists in the last six games (0-9=9).
Corey Perry’s unassisted goal at 8:39 of the third period marked his team-leading eighth of the season. Perry also leads Anaheim in scoring (8-9=17) and ranks tied for second in assists this season.
Rickard Rakell picked up his sixth goal and first PPG of 2015-16 at 19:57 of the first period. Rakell has three goals (3-0=3) in his last three games and four (4-0=4) in his last six. He now ranks second among team leaders in goals and fourth in scoring (6-5=11).
On his line with Cogliano and Hagelin
“Right off the bat, we had chemistry almost immediately. Bruce [Boudreau] has given us a pretty big role playing against top lines and wanting us to shut them down. With that, we’ve been able to produce some offense, which is nice.?
On the consistent effort
“I thought we played a really good game against Chicago. It was a tough pill to swallow, but when we got back the next day we talked about what we did well. We thought we really figured something out there. We were able to come out and start the same way tonight.”
On winning in this fashion
“It’s huge for the confidence for the team. We played great for 58 minutes in the last game, and we ended up losing the game in the last few minutes. That’s tough. But we played a solid 60 minutes tonight. We kept them to the outside and managed to score four goals.”
Head Coach Bruce Boudreau
On the 60-minute effort
“We haven’t had one like this all year. It was good to be able to breathe in the last five minutes of a game. The big goal was the third goal. It made us relax a little bit.”
On the Hagelin-Horcoff-Cogliano line
“Horcoff, Cogliano and Hagelin have done a tremendous job against all the big lines lately. They continued to do a really good job tonight.”
On Gibson’s shutout
“He made the saves he had to make. I didn’t think they had an awful lot of scoring chances, but he controlled the rebounds. We won face-offs, which was great, because he was holding onto the puck. He did a good job.”
On the play of rookie, Nick Ritchie
“That was a great play he made to Silfverberg. He’s finishing his checks all the time and he’s becoming defensively responsible. I think he has the odd mistake here and there, but I think he’s done a really good job for a 19-year-old kid.”
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